How's it going TCGplayers? A new format's finally upon us, spawned by the newest iteration of the Forbidden and Limited list. While the changes were largely minimal, we should still see plenty of competitive shakeups thanks to the plethora of set releases fast approaching. Geargia and Bujins have looked like the clear frontrunners going into April, but that doesn't mean new developments can't surprise us!

This week I wanted to take a quick look at one of the most unique decks to come out of YCS Chicago, Benedikt Junk's runner-up Dark Worlds. Even though he wasn't able to pilot the deck past Top 32 because of the new Draft Play top cut, he still managed to top the event with an incredibly unique build. As always, let's get started with the deck list.

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The core of the Dark World strategy's remained pretty much the same since the structure deck was released, giving us Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World and Snoww, Unlight of Dark World. Broww's your consistent draw power when needed, while Snoww gives the Dark World engine added consistency by letting you search for any missing combo piece you need. Grapha's the main boss monster, and with its massive ATK – often boosted to 3000 ATK by The Gates of Dark World – you can run over nearly anything that stands in your way.

Dark World's biggest strength is its ability to generate card advantage through your filtering and card selection effects. Dark World Dealings and The Gates of Dark World are your biggest enablers because you get to fill your graveyard while triggering your Dark World abilities. Drawing cards with Broww, destroying stuff with Grapha or searching out whatever you need with Snoww is so powerful because their effects are so difficult to interact with. A playset of Tour Guide From the Underworld is also a must, since you can easily make Rank 3 Xyz while fueling your Grapha, grabbing a Broww from your deck when you need it.

Junk also took the chance to run Morphing Jar one last time; much like the now Forbidden Card Destruction, Morphing Jar lets you generate massive card advantage by triggering any Dark World abilities you have in hand. While activating it does give your opponent a fresh set of cards, triggering all of your Dark World monsters in one go is often enough to end the game.

This build gets incredibly interesting with the inclusion of powerful Dark monsters. The pair of Tragoedia work well alongside the playset of Maxx "C" that keep your hand full. Tragoedia (and to a lesser extent, Gorz the Emissary of Darkness) are rarely played anticipated this format and can easily catch your opponent off guard. You can also pitch Tragoedia to The Gates of Dark World should the situation call for it. That said, the spiciest choice in Junk's deck was The Dark Creator and Dark Armed Dragon. These Phantom Darkness all-stars give Dark World a crazy power-play.

Dark Armed Dragon's good in any Dark deck that can manipulate the number of Darks in your graveyard, and Dark World can achieve that with The Gates of Darkworld. It's also incredibly hard to play around and prepare for, and can easily steal games. The Dark Creator's one of my old-school favorites, and it's an incredibly powerful threat. Not only does it have a respectable 2300 ATK and 3000 DEF, the ability to Special Summon a Dark monster from your graveyard every turn gives you immediate field presence from an empty board. You can easily bring back a Dark World for Grapha, or even a Tragoedia if your hand's big enough. The Dark Creator also makes setup for Dark Armed Dragon even easier since you have to banish a Dark monster to Special Summon, making your Dark count that much easier to manage.

Spells and Traps
The spells and traps are where this deck shines, with an insane amount of draw power to aid consistency. Three copies of the namesake Dark World Dealings highlight the list as one of your main enablers for your Dark World effects, while also digging you deeper through your cards. Three Trade-In work well with all the Level 8 monsters Junk ran, letting you freely discard a Grapha to Special Summon it to the field or get rid of a dead Dark Creator that's languishing in your hand. Three Upstart Goblins have pretty much become the norm in combo strategies like this, as having a 37-card deck is almost always worth putting your opponent on average at 10000 LP. Allure of Darkness rounds out all the draw power, a powerful card when run alongside the plethora of Dark monsters that are played here. It also works well with Leviair, so if you happen to banish a card like Broww or Snoww, know that they won't be gone forever.

The Gates of Dark World is the glue that holds the deck together and gives you gas later in the game, while being a continuous outlet for your Dark World effects. It also gives all of your Fiend monsters a nice 300 ATK/300 DEF boost, giving you the edge; Grapha at 3000 ATK can run over pretty much anything.

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Three Mystical Space Typhoon serve as a great tool not only against Fire Fist and Bujins, but as pre-boarded preparation for any kind of graveyard hate you might face: think Macro Cosmos, Soul Drain, and Dimensional Fissure, all commonly sided against you by many of the most popular control decks.

Junk only run two traps, but they were powerful ones: Torrential Tribute and Deck Devastation Virus. Torrential's great in a deck like this because you don't really care about your field presence: you can always bring back Grapha every turn or just refill your field thanks to The Dark Creator. Deck Devastation Virus is a bit of a niche pick, but it's great at dismantling decks like Mermails and Geargia (even though it's not effective against Fire Fist and Bujins). Coupled with Eradicator Epidemic Virus in the Side Deck, Junk had access to two of the most powerful cards for crippling an opponent's strategy. While you shouldn't ever rely on the Viruses, they can be incredibly potent "I Win" buttons, and they can come in handy in a ten to twelve round tournament

Side Deck Tech
I'm a big fan of Junk's Side Deck, transitioning his strategy from a draw-focused Dark Turbo into a build that focuses more on field control. The lone Thunder King Rai-Oh's good against Spellbooks, Fire Fists and Bujins, since shutting down search effects is crucial to stopping their overall strategy. Two Mirror Force serve as protection when your shields are down, as Maxx "C" and Tragoedia often come out for Games 2 and 3. You might also consider Dimensional Prison, but Mirror Force is just so great at stopping big pushes and securing a safe position.

Junk wasn't without hate cards of his own, packing a pair of Light-Imprisoning Mirror for Bujins and two Overworked for Fire Fists. Although Overworked can Backfire on you by destroying your own Fiends, it's often worth losing a Grapha to destroy their whole field boosted by a Tenki. The inclusion of my all-time favorite Side Deck card, Mind Crush, is a decision I can easily get behind. In a format littered with search effects, stripping away the card your opponent needed most is just so backbreaking. Mind Crush is also a powerful tool to trigger your own Dark World effects should you so happen to make the wrong call. It's often advantageous in a tight duel to call out the one card that your opponent would need to win the game that turn; if you call it right, you secure a victory. If you call it wrong, it means your opponent can't win and you could even trigger a Dark World effect for yourself!

Dust Tornado and Full House provide further hate for the backrow-heavy Bujins and Fire Fist, as well as Bottomless Trap Hole for getting rid of any big monsters. Last but not least is Dark Smog which not only serves as graveyard hate, but also gives you a method of activating Dark World effects during your opponent's turn. A surprise Grapha activation to destroy their big attacker can really put a wrench in your opponent's game-winning plans!

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Looking back on YCS Chicago, Dark Worlds still may not seem like the ideal choice in a sea of Mermails, Bujins, and Fire Fists. But Dark World decks have always been able to prey on slower card advantage-based decks such as Fire Fist and Bujins, losing mainly to quick OTK's. Junk's build with The Dark Creator gave him access to plenty of Xyz plays not possible with other Dark World builds, giving him added strength as duels got longer and resources got lower. The Dark Creator can very easily become a one-card Heliopolis or Felgrand, letting you take control of the game with ease. Junk's unique, but powerful take on Dark Worlds was able to navigate him successfully into the top cut, and his deft Yu-Gi-Oh! draft play earned him a second place finish!

As this new format's still in its infancy, be sure to get out there and test the craziest combos you can think of! The format is still ripe for breaking, so why not be the one to do it? Happy testing and remember to always think outside the box!

~Joe Soto

Invictus